Agents of Change

Category 1

Agents of Change is a peer education program intended for use in a church setting. Church-based young people are as much at risk of HIV infection and teenage pregnancy as other young people, and it is therefore vital that church-based youth sexuality programs are put in place. The program uses peer educators or "agents of change" as role models and educators. Abstinence is prioritized as a goal, but it is vital that young people who decide to become sexually active know how to protect themselves.



Goal of the Practice
  • Research the sexual activities of young people so that more effective programs can be designed leading to behavior changes that protect young people from engaging in sexual activity before marriage.
  • Determine the extent of sexual activity: types of sexual activity, exposure to unsafe sex, incidence of casual sex, and rates of sexual violence.
  • Deepen understanding about why Anglican young people are sexually active; what young people feel about sexual activity; what young people understand and believe regarding the Church's teachings about sexuality, and how the Anglican Church can be more effective in bridging the gap between behavior and teaching.
Core Components
  • Number of sexual experiences
  • Number of sexual partners
  • The use of contraceptives
Noteworthy Results
  • During the first sexual experience just over a third (35%) of respondents used any type of contraceptives. In other later sexual experiences, the use of contraceptives improved to 51%.
  • 83% of males reported contraceptive use, "depends on the partner." This suggests that many males are not using contraceptives unless the female insists, and further suggests that males may be less open to using contraceptives than females.
  • During the first sexual experience, the most commonly used contraceptives were condoms and oral pill methods. None of the respondents reported use of the diaphragm, spermicide, traditional methods or the loop/IUD.
Lessons Learned
  • Programs need to be put in place to support young girls in the following areas: to be empowered to say no; to know who to turn to when they are desperate for necessities such as school fees or food; to support those who are victims of sexual violence with counseling, referrals and when necessary the morning after pill; to be supported if they do fall pregnant; to continue to be part of the life of the church even if they have babies.
  • In order for churches to be increasingly influential in assisting young people, it is critical to embrace a multi-faceted, multi-level, bold response to issues of sexuality given the increasingly complex landscape in which young people live.
Focus Areas
Prevention
Implemented By
Fikelela AIDS Project
Participating Organization
N/A
Region
Africa
Country
South Africa
Environment
Other/Non-specified
Setting
Other/Non-specified
Target Population
Adolescents (ages 13-17)
Scope
Implementation Years
01/2000 - ongoing